Updates MWF

A New Friend?

"I met someone who I is super interesting. His name is AA."

He is the boyfriend of my cousin's cousin—not related. He's hispanic and wears his long hair in a man bun.

He does graphic design. How cool is that!

But what makes him stand out is a passing conversation I had with him about notebooks. He said, "Someday, I want to make the perfect notebook." Inwardly, I was ecstatic. Part of me wanted to jump out of my chair, slam my hands on the Buffalo Wildwing's table and say, "I have the same passion too!" Thankfully, I restrained myself. I did not want to creep him the first time I met him.

So, in three weeks from now, 21 days, I will contact him. I've already drafted my facebook message that I will send him.

Hey Alex, I was thinking about making a notebook from scratch and wanted to see if you would be interested in what I've made so far. Often

Does that sound casual enough... I don't know. Anyways, hopefully I won't scare him off. Friends are hard to find after college.

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On Suffering

Broken Sign
Broken walk signal and broken relationships.

"On Facebook, my friend, EL wrote this:

Does suffering need a reason? No, it does not. Although the beginning of the Book of Job gave a reason to why Job suffer, Job was never informed about this, just as God never gave an answer to all the questions He asked Job. Maybe there is a reason for our suffering, maybe there is not. Maybe instead of asking "why?", we should ask "what now?" Is there a reason for suffering? Maybe there is, maybe there is not, but does the reason really matter? Maybe there are things in the world has no answers. EL

I completely and wholeheartedly disagree. I've been trying to parse out what he wrote, trying to see if I misunderstood it, but no matter how I interpret his post, it's wrong. Dangerously wrong.

Reasons do matter.

The problem isn't whether or not there is an answer, the problem is never asking the question in the first place.

I can understand why people choose to believe this. If you or someone close to you is undergoing some unbearable pain, it makes sense to push the idea of suffering to the side and not dwell on it in order to continue with life. In short, its a coping mechanism. And sometimes, it is necessary. (To be fair, 'Everything Happens for a Reason' is a horrible phrase to say to someone who is in the midst suffering. My recommendation is just to listen, empathize, and support that person as they go through the situation. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to give them space and allow time for them to heal.) But if one builds his entire life on ignoring these questions and encourages others to ignore factors that contribute to one's own suffering or the suffering of others, it hurts everybody in the long run.

In the biblical story of Job, God did not provide the answer, but even still, there is an answer. Whether or not we can fix it (or even comprehend it) is another matter. What is wrong to ask why or how suffering exists? These types of questions are valuable question, and Job had every right to ask these questions to God. Nor do I think that God was angry at Job for asking these questions either. It may not have been the answer that Job wanted at the time, but it was what he needed.

We need pursue these ""why"" investigation as long as we don't dwell on them too long because they can cripple us from making a meaningful mark on the world.

The world sucks. There is a lot of pain and suffering in the world. However, in order to grow and mature, we need to confront these problems head on and push ourselves to move forward despite how depressing and soul-crushing the world is.

Whatever religion or philosophy you have, "reducing needless suffering in the world" is a noble task, and any meaningful change needs to start with the foundational question of 'Why?'.

I'm no expert on suffering, but I've had my own fair share. Here's what I do know:

  • Suffering is multifaceted.
  • Suffering exists.
  • Suffering can be good, bad, or somewhere in between.
  • Needless suffering can be reduced but it involves the commitment andinvolvement of the entire community.

Don't ignore suffering. That's the easy way out and it hurts you and everyone around you. Don't belittle suffering either. Because its real and potentially dangerous.

Last but not least, always humbly and hopefully keep asking those big questions.

Further Resources:

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Informal is my Normal

![](027-messyhomegym.jpg "My blog is not meant to be pretty and clean like CL's blog. It's dirty, messy, but haphazardly productive.)

"I've begun to show people my blog. There's copious amounts of mistakes.

That's OK.

It's not like I'm being paid to do this blog. This is more of a passion project than anything else. Still, I need to consider finding an editor because I want this blog to be at least somewhat presentable."

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journal pen review

Muji 0.5 Pens

Even before writing this blog, I purposely made it a point for it to not devolve into a pen review blog. Not that pen review blogs are bad persay. If you do not know me, I like pens. A lot. So much that it becomes a productivity black hole. As a result, I do not go out of my way to look for the perfect pen because I've always placed a higher emphasis on content over products.

However, this particular post is a little different. As a spur of inspiration, I've decided to break my vow of silence just because of how much I love Muji gel pens. They write smoother than any other gel pen I've come across (other than the Pentel Energels) and, well... they just make me happy.

To give a bit of backstory, I ran out of ink in all my gel pens about half a year ago and never came around to buying new ones. I own so many cheap ballpoint pens (BIC pens, free pens found in banks and hotels) that I decided, "Good enough for me. I'll use up these pens first before I buy new ones." However, no matter how prolific I write, these rollerball never seem to die. They last forever. AND they multiply. Three months ago, I owned 53 bic pens alone, but when I counted how many pens I owned today, they mysteriously multiplied to become 72 pens.

I know this was not an accounting error because I've begun to store my dead pens in a little tin box as a sort of 'war prize'. I've coined this box: 'the pen graveyard'. Over the past three months, I've used up at least 7 pens, so the number should have decreased. My guess is that someone put more pens in my pen container, yet I do not know who would do that...

My older brother, M.M., moved in about a week ago, and while I was walking through his room, I discovered a red Muji 0.5 pen out in the wild. So... I just took it. Yes, I'm a thief, AND I DON'T REGRET IT. (I hope he doesn't read this blog post.)

Oh the joy of a Muji Pen. The matte finish. The smooth writing and flowing ink. When I first sat down to write something, I wrote, "This is a test of a red 0.5 Muji gel pen," and somehow the pen spurred into overdrive, and by the end of 3 minutes, I had already written on both sides of the page as well as revisions and side commentary on the margins.

The next day, I decided to go out of my way to Palo Alto to buy a set of new set of Gel Pens.

After having a brand new spankin' set of pens, I secretely placed M.M.'s pen back onto his desk. I was considering replacing the pen I stole with a BIC pen, but dismissed the thought; I'm a thief, but I'm not a monster.

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[Tutorial] Replacing Caps Lock with Em Dash and En Dash in Linux

replacing the function of the caps lock button with something useful

Capslock key
The Caps Locks key: A conveniently well-placed button with an outdated and generally useless function.

I wanted to replace my Caps Lock with Em Dash and En Dash? Why? Well, I rarely use Caps Locks. It's a waste of keyboard real estate, and usually the Shift button would suffice.

Note: I am using Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia, but this tutorial should work for all versions of Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

There are 2 main ways that we can change the Caps Lock function on Mint. One way is to edit/create a completely new XKB layout. The second way is to use xmodmap which changes the keys of an existing layout. I chose the second option because I would have to edit the XKB file for every new keyboard language and keyboard variant.

For me, the first step is to figure out what key the cap locks key is labeled as on the computer. If you are using a US keyboard layout, most likely it is keycode 66, but it's always good to double check.

So open your terminal (you can open it by typing in the shortcut ctrl+alt+t) and type:

xev

Now, now when you press a key, it states what button is being pressed. So when you press your Cap Locks button, it should show something similiar to the following:

KeyRelease event, serial 37, 
synthetic NO, window 0x6200001, 
root 0x146, subw 0x0, time 22321379, 
(-110,231), root:(476,530), state 0x0, 
keycode 66 (keysym 0xaa9, emdash), 
same_screen YES, 
XLookupString gives 3 bytes: (e2 80 94) "—" XFilterEvent returns: False

What we are looking for is the keycode. On my computer, keycode 66 is my cap locks key (This is the caps lock button for most keyboard layouts).

Now we have to make a file to replace the Caps Lock key with the Em-Dash and En-Dash. (You can also use this file to remap any other keys as well.)

We need to make a new file, so open up your favorite terminal text-editor. I like nano. If you still have the xev window open, close it and type:

nano ~/.Xmodmap

Some distros automatically will open this file on startup, so my recommendation is to name it exactly .Xmodmap (case-sensitive). We do not need to be in root because we are making a file in the home folder.

Now, we need to write the following in the file.

clear Lock
keycode 66 = 0xaa9 0xaaa

The clear Lock clears away any caps lock function existing in the keyboard. Now we need to associate the caps lock button with the em dash (—) and en dash (–) symbol. The second line associates the keycode 66 button with em dash (0xaa9) symbol and the shift modifier with the en dash (0xaaa). Once you are done, exit by pressing ctrl+x in nano, type y for yes to save, and then press enter.

Test it out. Type in your terminal:

xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap

If everything was done correctly, your cap locks key should type em dash, and when you shift, it should be an en dash.

If you want to reset the keyboard back to normal, type the following in the terminal:

setxkbmap -layout us

Lastly, we need to make sure that this command will be performed after every reboot. On Mint, you open up the application Preferences>Startup Applications. Press the add button and click on 'custom command'. Add the code xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap into your custom command. (For troubleshooting, try to add the actual home address. Something like xmodmap /home/yourusername/.Xmodmap. Add title and descriptions (whatever you want). Before you save and close, one more thing. For the delay, type in "1". If you leave it at "0", it won't work. At all. I don't know exactly why it doesn't work (though I do have some reasonable guesses as to why).

Save, restart your computer, log in, and see if it works. It should work pretty much instantly.

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